Sleep and Biological Rhythms

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 37–47 | Cite as

α-Asarone in management of sleep deprivation induced memory deficits and anxiety in rat model

  • Arathi Radhakrishnan
  • N. Jayakumari
  • Velayudhan Mohan Kumar
  • Kamalesh K. Gulia
Original Article


Insomnia is associated with anxiety and memory deficits. α-Asarone, an active principle of Acorus species, which has anxiolytic and memory-restoring properties, was recently identified as a potential hypnotic with the least side effects. The current study was conducted in rats to find out whether the hypnotic dose of α-asarone can produce anxiolytic and memory restoring effects. α-Asarone (10 mg/kg, i.p.) and its vehicle were administered to rats, deprived of sleep by gentle handling for 5 h for 5 days. Spatial memory was assessed in the radial arm maze. Anxiety was tested using elevated plus maze and open field test. In addition to using the vehicle of the drug as a control, midazolam (2 mg/kg, i.p.), a known anxiolytic, was also used as a positive control. Increased anxiety levels produced after sleep deprivation were reduced after α-asarone administration. The anxiolytic effect was comparable to that produced by midazolam. Increase in the reference and working memory errors, resulting from sleep deprivation, was reduced after α-asarone injection. It also produced an improvement in the percentage of correct choices. Decreased lipid peroxidation and increased activities of catalase and glutathione reductase facilitated the improvement in cognitive functioning. α-Asarone, is not only a good therapeutic agent for insomnia and associated anxiety, it can also reduce insomnia-associated memory deficits. This is the first report on the anxiolytic and cognition enhancing property of α-asarone in sleep-deprived rats.


α-Asarone Sleep deprivation Anxiety Memory RAM EPM 



Sleep deprivation


Elevated plus maze


Open field test


Radial arm maze




Glutathione reductase




Superoxide dismutase


Glutathione peroxide



The work was supported by the research grant from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India (CSIR Sanction No: 37(1543)/12-EMR II). AR was supported by CSIR Junior Research Fellowship. We acknowledge Dr. Lakshmi R for her assistance in the RAM test.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors has any financial interest or conflicts of interest related to this work.

Ethical approval

All the procedures employed in this study were approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala.


Wistar rats were obtained from the Division of Laboratory Animal Sciences, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Sleep Research 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Sleep Research, Biomedical Technology WingSree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and TechnologyTrivandrumIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistrySree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and TechnologyTrivandrumIndia
  3. 3.Biomedical Technology WingSree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and TechnologyTrivandrumIndia
  4. 4.TrivandrumIndia

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